Jon Dean

Jon Dean PhD, BA

Associate Professor in Politics and Sociology


I lecture in Politics and Sociology. My research interests focus on charity and the voluntary sector, homelessness, class inequality, and the sociology of youth.


My research explores multiple facets of how charity works within society. My most recent book, The Good Glow: Charity and the Symbolic Power of Doing Good (policy Press, 2020) explores charity's social role as persuader and shortcut to presenting oneself  as 'good'. I am also exploring how young people perceive and experience charity on social media, how they interact with calls for donations or shares and retweets, and whether they feel comfortable with such public displays of morality and empathy. 

I started at Sheffield Hallam University in 2012 after completing a PhD examining how social class affects youth volunteering in the UK. This research used Pierre Bourdieu's ideas to show how the voluntary sector, despite being a part of society we expect to challenge inequalities often serves to reproduce them. This research has been published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Voluntary Sector Review and the British Journal of the Sociology of Education.

I also have a keen interest in innovative and reflexive research methods. My first monograph, Doing Reflexivity:  An Introduction, was published by Policy Press in 2017, and sought to provide researchers of all stages a rationale for being reflexive and a guide to doing it. I have also used drawing methods to explore homelessness, and soundscapes to document changes in universities.


Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics

College of Social Sciences and Arts

Politics and Sociology

  • BA Politics;
  • BA Sociology;
  • BA Applied Social Science;
  • BA Criminology and Sociology;
  • MRes Social Research.

  • Introduction to Politics and Society;
  • Shaping Societies;
  • Research Methods in Politics;
  • Youth: Chaos and Control;
  • Charity and Community;
  • Dissertation (Politics);
  • Dissertation (Sociology);
  • Dissertation (Masters in Research).


Journal articles

Dean, J. (2024). Four reflections on Beast Philanthropy: A response to Davies. Journal of Philanthropy and Marketing.

Dean, J. (2023). Group Life: An Invitation to Local Sociology [Book Review]. Cultural Sociology.

Dean, J., & Fitton, T. (2023). On charity and sex. Voluntary Sector Review: an international journal of third sector research, policy and practice.

Dean, J. (2023). Charity and abuse: fundraising and symbolic power in the case of Jimmy Savile. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 53 (2).

Dean, J. (2023). Handbook on Hybrid Organisations by David Billis and Colin Rochester (eds) (2020) [Book review]. Voluntary Sector Review, 14 (1), 201-202.

Dean, J., & Wiley, K. (2022). Critical theory, qualitative methods and the non-profit and voluntary sector: an introduction to the special issue. Voluntary Sector Review.

Dean, J. (2021). Informal volunteering, inequality, and illegitimacy. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 51 (3), 527-544.

Dean, J. (2021). Reflexivity and Its Limits in the Study of Social Inequalities. Historical Social Research, 46 (2), 178-185.

Dean, J. (2020). Student perceptions and experiences of charity on social media: the authenticity of offline networks in online giving. Voluntary Sector Review: an international journal of third sector research, policy and practice.

Bennett, E., Coule, T., Damm, C., Dayson, C., Dean, J., & Macmillan, R. (2019). Civil society strategy: A policy review. Voluntary sector review, 10 (2), 213-223.

Dean, J., Furness, P., Verrier, D., Lennon, H., Bennett, C., & Spencer, S. (2018). Desert island data: an investigation into researcher positionality. Qualitative Research, 18 (3), 273-289.

Dean, J., & Wood, R. (2017). ‘You can try to press different emotional buttons’: The conflicts and strategies of eliciting emotions for fundraisers. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 22 (4), e1603.

Dean, J. (2015). “Submitting Love?”: a sensory sociology of Southbourne. Qualitative Inquiry, 22 (3), 162-168.

Dean, J. (2015). Class diversity and youth volunteering in the UK : applying Bourdieu's habitus and cultural capital. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45 (1), 95S-113S.

Dean, J. (2015). Volunteering, the market, and neoliberalism. People, place and policy online, 9 (2), 139-148.

Dean, J. (2015). Drawing what homelessness looks like : using creative visual methods as a tool of critical pedagogy. Sociological research online, 20 (1).

Dean, J. (2014). The role of the reflexive self in mailer's protests. Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 1 (2), 11-26.

Dean, J. (2014). Recruiting young volunteers in an area of selective education : a qualitative case study. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37 (4), 643-661.

Dean, J. (2014). How structural factors promote instrumental motivations within youth volunteering : a qualitative analysis of volunteer brokerage. Voluntary Sector Review, 5 (2), 231-247.

Dean, J. (2013). Manufacturing citizens : the dichotomy between policy and practice in youth volunteering in the UK. Administrative Theory and Praxis, 35 (1), 46-62.

Dean, J. (2013). The representation and perception of need : the moral choices facing homelessness fundraisers. Homeless in Europe, 2012/3 (Winter), 21-22.

Breeze, B., & Dean, J. (2012). Pictures of me : user views on their representation in homelessness fundraising appeals. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 17 (2), 132-143.

Conference papers

Dean, J. (2015). Desert Island Data : an experiment in researcher positionality and interpretivism. In Societies in transition : progression or regression : conference programme and abstract book. British Sociological Association:

Dean, J. (2014). The images in our heads : fundraising literature and drawing what homelessness looks like. In Changing society : conference programme and abstarct book. British Sociological Association:

Dean, J. (2013). A market to sell experience: how neoliberal volunteering policies trade on the pressures of being young. In 42nd ARNOVA Conference : Recession, renewal, revolution? Nonprofit and coluntary action in an age of turbulence, Hertford, Connecticut, 21 November 2013 - 23 November 2013.

Dean, J. (2012). 'It's just part of what they do': Habitus, social class and youth volunteering policy. In University of Kent Sociology Seminar Series.

Dean, J. (2011). Volunteering and social class : a narrative approach. In ARNOVA Conference 2011, Toronto, Canada, 17 November 2011 - 19 November 2011.

Dean, J. (2011). Challenging narratives : the importance of informal volunteering. In NCVO/VSSN Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference 2011, NCVO, London, 7 September 2011 - 8 September 2011.

Dean, J. (2011). Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys : governmentality, state power and the responsibilization of youth. In Contesting the State Conference, University of Kent, 13 May 2011.

Dean, J. (2010). Youth volunteering policy : the rise of governmentality. In Voluntary Action History Society Conference 2010, University of Kent at Canterbury, 14 July 2010 - 16 July 2010.

Dean, J. (2010). ‘I’ve never met them or spoken to them’: statutory and voluntary sector relationships - a case study approach to understanding youth volunteering. In NCVO/VSSN Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference 2010, 6 September 2010 - 7 September 2010.

Book chapters

Dean, J., & Hogg, E. (2022). Introduction. In Researching Voluntary Action: innovations and Challenges. Policy Press

Bhati, A., & Dean, J. (2022). Charity advertising. In Researching Voluntary Action. (pp. 59-69). Policy Press:

Dean, J., & Verrier, D. (2022). Restudies, surveys and what counts as volunteering. In Researching Voluntary Action. (pp. 160-170). Policy Press:

Dean, J., & Hogg, E. (2022). Conclusion. In Researching Voluntary Action. (pp. 171-176). Policy Press:

Hogg, E., & Dean, J. (2022). Introduction. In Researching Voluntary Action. (pp. 1-11). Policy Press:

(2020). Volunteering. In Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, Third Edition. (pp. 1-7). Routledge:

Dean, J., Honeywell, C., & Price, A. (2019). Volunteering: From Social Control to Prefigurative Participation. In Eikenberry, A.M., Mirabella, R.M., & Sandberg, B. (Eds.) Reframing Nonprofit Organizations: Democracy, Inclusion, and Social Change. Melvin & Leigh

Dean, J. (2017). Monkey Island. In The 100 Greatest Video Game Franchises. (1st). Rowman and Littlefield


Dean, J., & Hogg, E. (Eds.). (2022). Researching Voluntary Action. Policy Press.

Dean, J. (2020). The Good Glow Charity and the Symbolic Power of Doing Good. Policy Press.

Dean, J. (2017). Doing reflexivity: an introduction. Bristol: Policy Press.


Ellis Paine, A., Damm, C., Dean, J., Harris, C., & Macmillan, R. (2021). Volunteering in community business: meaning, practice and management. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research.

Breeze, B., & Dean, J. (2012). User views of fundraising. Alliance Publishing Trust.

Theses / Dissertations

Squire, R. (2022). Third sector organisations in widening participation policy: networks, expertise and authority. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Mccaig, C., & Dean, J.

Other publications

Dean, J. (2020). Book Review: Just giving: Why philanthropy is failing democracy and how it can do better by Reich, R. SAGE Publications:

Dean, J. (2019). Book Review: A Cosmopolitan Journey? Difference, Distinction and Identity Work in Gap Year Travel. Helene Snee, . Farnham: Ashgate, 2014. ISBN: 9781409453031. SAGE:

Dean, J. (2019). Book Review: Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy. SAGE Publications:

Dean, J. (2018). What are Community Studies? - Book Review. SAGE Publications:

Dean, J. (2017). Telethons: Spectacle, disability, and the business of charity by Paul K. Longmore. Bristol University Press:

Dean, J. (2014). Book Review: Will Atkinson, Steve Roberts and Mike Savage (eds), Class Inequality in Austerity Britain: Power, Difference and Suffering. SAGE Publications:

Dean, J. (2013). Book Review: What is Qualitative Research? SAGE Publications:

Other activities

  • Editorial Board of Voluntary Sector Review;
  • Member of the British Sociological Association;
  • Steering Group and Member of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network;
  • Publications Committe and Member of the Association for Research on Non-profit Organisations and Voluntary Action;
  • Organiser of the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference;
  • Member of the WRDTP Advanced Qualitative Methods Panel.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Sarah Boodt (EdD): Placement experiences of trainee teachers in further education;
  • Ruth Squire (PhD): The role of third sector organisations in widening participation policy;
  • Becca White (PhD): Inequality, barriers to opportunity, and the lived experience at a British school;
  • John Doyle (PhD): Exploring cultural wealth in the classroom and in the community;
  • Azize Cay (PhD): Exploring hierarhy in non-hierarchical organisations.

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